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GATESHEAD CHALLENGE

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Stephen Miller

09 June 2010

Local athlete and four times Paralympian Stephen Miller (Gateshead Harriers) heads the domestic entries as the UKA Disability Athletics Challenge Series moves on to Gateshead’s International Stadium on Sunday 11th July, and spectator registration for the event is now open.

Continuing the journey through to the IPC World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2011, the event - the second of three major UK meetings in 2010 - is organised by UKA and hosted by Gateshead Council with the support of UK Sport, and is open to National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) with IPC licensed athletes.

Miller (Gateshead Harriers), a multi-medallist on the global stage in the club throw, will return to his training venue looking to build on his recent gold medal winning performance in the BT Paralympic World Cup and is determined to make it to his fourth successive World Championships early in 2011, continuing his domination of the event at the highest level.

“I’ve had a very successful career to date and I’m excited about the prospect of continuing that form through to New Zealand in January,” he said. “Having the opportunity to compete more often against some of our biggest rivals is vital in improving our own performances and with the UKA Challenge Series this year, I think we’re being given an excellent opportunity to do that.”

“I’ve been consistently throwing over 30m this year and with a home crowd in Gateshead I’ve got every chance of exceeding my best ever performance of 34.37m set in the Paralympic Games in Beijing in 2008,” he continued. “That’s the level I need to be hitting if I want to achieve my target of a fourth World Championships gold medal in 2011.”

Building on the success of the pilot event in 2009, the 2010 UKA Disability Athletics Challenge Series has evolved to include three events and commenced in Knowsley, Liverpool in May, with over 70 athletes from nine nations represented.

“We are proud for Gateshead to play such an important part in the 2010 Series with the staging of the Gateshead Disability Athletics Challenge that takes place the day after the highly prestigious Aviva British Grand Prix,” said Gateshead Council cabinet member for culture, Cllr Linda Green.

“Hosting two fantastic sporting events over a weekend positions Gateshead firmly on the elite athletics stage highlighting the world class facilities available here.

“We are absolutely committed to the development of Paralympic athletes and athletics in the UK and what a marvellous opportunity for the people of Gateshead, and the North East in general, to see some of the finest exponents of the sport compete for honours. Events like these once again prove how fitting it is that Gateshead is European City of Sport 2010.”

UK Sport’s Event Consultant, Lucy Crickmore added:

“UK Sport has worked with closely with UKA and other partners to plan the 2010 Disability Challenge Athletics Series with events in Gateshead in July and in Crystal Palace in August immediately following the IAAF Diamond League competitions. We are delighted to be investing in and supporting both of these important events which not only offer fantastic international performance competitions for British athletes but will also provide two invaluable opportunities for British officials and volunteers ahead of London 2012.”

To register as a spectator for the Gateshead Disability Challenge visit the Challenge section of the UKA website.